Controversies surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline have arisen yet again due to the pipeline rupture that occurred in Arkansas suburbs just last week. Over 12 thousand barrels of heavy crude oil flowed into a residential neighborhood, rendering about 24 families homeless during the evacuation. Even though an around-the-clock cleanup began last Saturday, what will this mean for Pegasus pipeline, run by Exxon Mobil? And also, how will the leak affect public opinion regarding the implementation of the Keystone XL pipeline?
As we eagerly await the decision of the Obama administration regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, the leak in Arkansas might alter public opinion. The Keystone XL pipeline would transport oil from Canada’s oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas. This would require the increased use of fracking, a drilling method that uses high-pressure water streams to release oil and natural gas from underground rock formations. Those that oppose fracking suggest that it disturbs natural environments while producing tons of diesel emissions.
Exxon Mobil is currently occupied with cleaning up the Little Rock suburbs and ensuring the oil does not flow to the nearby Lake Conway through the storm drains. They are also spending time meeting with the residents of the area and ensuring documentation and data for any future litigation. Full ramifications for Exxon Mobil are yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, Obama is pressing Congress to pass energy proposals that will convert cars and trucks to clean energy, while creating clean energy jobs. It will be interesting to see how Obama’s legislation affects the future of oil companies, as well as the influence that this spill will have on fracking opinions worldwide.